NIN: Government officials and lingering extortion culture


I was listening to the news over the weekend, on how some government officials extort between N5,000 and N10,000 from people before they get NIN numbers within a week and at the shortest time.
This reminded me of my own quandary, many months ago. When I was informed by an immigration officer that I would have to obtain a NIN in order to renew my passport, I became discouraged. I knew it was not going to be easy; and just like I had hoped, it was so.

Getting there early that morning, there was a swarm of people, young and old, standing in the scorching sun behind the shut gate of the Civil Defence, in Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos State.
Everyone present at the place needed the NIN for one important thing or the other, either at the bank, for national identity card, for passport, for collection of pensions, documentation and so on. Just like you know many Nigerians, if it is not important and enforced they won’t meet the terms. I paced about asking people – as they claimed they had been coming for days and some for weeks. Oh, how poor masses undergo pain for things they should not suffer for at all. Animals are not supposed to be kept in the sun let alone human beings who exercised their voting right.

Getting things like NIN, passport, national identity card, driver’s licence and other things are difficult as many Nigerians are subjected to unnecessary stress.
When we were eventually addressed – it was the usual complaint of breakdown of machine. It was around noon and I told myself to try Ikeja Local Government. I did, but it came with a price. It was either I comply or didn’t get my passport renewed. I spent the remaining hours of the day, waiting.
Eventually, by the evening I received it, but I felt so sad for my beloved country. There’s hardly anything you can receive from government officials without paying a price. Nothing comes free.
Many questions are indeed popping from my head:

Why can’t the government emulate the ways things are done in developed countries? Why can’t they checkmate their officials from always making money from the poor masses?
Why can’t the government officials talk to people politely and respectively?
In the United States, SSN mails individual social security numbers, as it receives all essential facts and documentation.

I grow up in Lagos, I live in Lagos and I attest that Lagos is a Centre of Excellence, and she is doing everything to live that name, nevertheless Lagos State still has a lot to do.
Lagos State should do things differently and better, give ‘more’ seminars to these corrupt officials who extort money from people before they take delivery of things due to them. If they continue, pick a few and let them serve as deterrent to others. They should organise or make things easier for people and if people must wait in all these public places, provide a conducive and a place of sitting with shade.
And to the Federal Government, vie with the part of the US Constitution – to serve the people. Outdo the developed countries. God bless Nigeria.